Copenhagen is the first Nordic city I’ve ever visited and it did not disappoint.
Everywhere you look, everything seems to be well-organized, and the sight of roads with dedicated lane for cyclists, where everyone follows and expect the road rules is a rarity in any city and the one I wish all other cities will follow suit. Though the metro trains run around the clock, still it seems that cycling is the preferred daily mode of transportation, and the convenience that you can bring your bike on-board the train makes it an even better option for an easy and seamless commute.
Though if there is one thing I would say that really surprises me about Copenhagen is the fact that everyone seems to be in a good mood. I cannot count the numerous times I feel so self-conscious and kept asking myself If I have something on my face, or perhaps I look strange and out of place.
At first, I find it weird that while waiting to cross the traffic light, a guy keeps on smiling at me, but as the day progressed and after encountering the same scenario from different people, I realise the fact that everyone here just smiles and they are not afraid of accidental eye contacts with strangers. Isn’t it great to explore a city where everyone just smiles?
Perhaps there is a correlation between cycling and good mood, and this is quite evident in the over-all homey ambiance that Copenhagen exudes, something that makes any visitors comfortable as they go about exploring the city.
The downside of everything that is good about Copenhagen including the safety, is the fact the everything is just so expensive. So for those who are planning to stay longer and see all the sights, it is advisable to purchase the Copenhagen card which includes free admission for example to all museums and castles, free public transport including the train that goes to Kronborg Castle and the metro to/from the airport.
I purchased the 72 hour card at the Visit Copenhagen kiosk at the airport, and I can attest that it is really worth the money, the accompanying guidebook will tell you the all the wonderful places you can go for free and I only managed to visit a handful of them.
It is easy to explore the Copenhagen inner city centre, most hostels and hotels are located around the shopping district of Stroget and Kongens Nytrov, from there everywhere is just a few steps away. Although, I have the Copenhagen card that allows me to board any mode of transportation in the city area, I spent my time mostly just walking around, after all, it is always my preferred way to explore any new place.
Though my starting point and the same location where I usually end my daily city exploration too, is none other than the colorful historic waterfront district of Nyhavn, where 17th century old houses are now converted to restaurants and shops.
The most famous house in the area is No.20, the red building with the green door, said to be the former house of famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. Though the area does really come alive in the evening, but I prefer seeing Nyhavn early in the morning, when the shops are closed, the boats are docked, you can literally have the place to yourself.
The beautiful houses are not limited to the area of Nyhavn alone, once you really start walking the streets of Copenhagen or perhaps climbed the Round Tower for the panoramic view, then you will start to discover how beautiful and impressive the overall city landscape is.
A cobbled street corner lined with yellow brick houses or a building facade of the blue door and small windows, ornate with trees and bicycles in front or the view of the bell towers towering over rows and rows of red roofs.
The photogenic old Gothic churches, the Gefion Fountain of the mighty Norse Goddess, the parks mesmerizing in a perfect autumn day, and the worth-mentioning accidental Wes Anderson vibe of the Kastellet.
In between all these beautiful facades are underground metro, functioning community with emphasis on sustainable living, design houses of edgy, modern, minimalist furniture shops, and most importantly, a country that recognizes the LGBTQ community.
With the statue of the Little Mermaid overlooks the harbour and with factory chimneys in the background, as the city’s most famous tourist attraction, It is kind of cool to finally realize that this is exactly what Copenhagen is, nothing but the perfect blend of old world charm and modern philosophy, an epitome of what a modern fairy tale city is supposed to be.